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Dealing With A Schizophrenic
cwu007 posted:
I work as an assistant manager in a store. There is this mentally ill customer, we recently found out her mental illness is schizophrenia, who calls us like if we are an advice hot line. If she's not asking about advice she claiming some far out government conspiracy. I've gotten this habit of asking her if this has anything to do with my store. As soon as she says no, I tell her I can't help her. She recently asked my why and I told her it's not my job to. I've told my employees to tell her that they'll get fired if they talk about something other than their job. There are times when I've asked her that and she thinks it has something to do with my store and it doesn't. (She said she wanted to write a letter to her congressman and wanted to know how many pens she needed. When I asked her she said yes because she bought the pens from my store) It's not just us but most of the other local businesses. It's gotten to the point where most of my employees are hesitant to answer the phone because they don't want to deal with her again. We've done everything from being rude to threatening to call the cops, to just hanging up, nothing has worked. How does one get a schizophrenic to stop calling? Do not say change our phone number or get caller ID because we can't. How does one talk to a schizophrenic?
larsstarscanary responded:
I would ask her her name one time (to use the broken record technique that I describe below), but I wouldn't ask her any other questions, including, "Does this have anything to do with my store?". That encourages conversation.

The broken record technique worked with a woman I know (with schizophrenia) who kept calling me every 5 minutes. Her calls were really upsetting and disruptive.

Every time she called, and I recognized her voice, I used her name and simply said,

"Mary, stop calling me."

I didn't yell or slam the phone down or sound irritated or rude. She must have called 25 times more over a period of 3 or 4 weeks before she finally heard me and stopped calling. Persistence and consistency is the key.

[This just occurred to me: You could first give her the phone number to a mental health referral organization, such as 1-800-LIFENET--I would figure out the numbers for her-- 1-800-543-3638 (I think those are the right numbers)--But after that, I would use her name and the broken record technique>.

I hope that helps.

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